Clothes shopping can be tough because I’m fat, but I do know how to sew and if worse comes to worst, I can create clothes for myself. Bra shopping is a pain, but at least no one will see those bras (without my permission). But shoes. Shoes. I’ve worn an 11 in women’s shoes since I was about 12 years old. And short of some cobbler elves helping me out, it will never stop sucking.
My mom was a bit of a fashionista in her youth, and she longed to continue buying fancy shoes as she got older. She generally did not, because of the combination of cost and impracticability of the shoes she desired, but she did have quite the collection of pink Skechers when she died. She tried to live vicariously through me, but as with so many of her hopes, that was doomed to failure nearly from the start.
After all, I was able to wear her shoes starting in fifth grade, and then surpassed her size when I was in middle school. I don’t know why. I’m the same height as my mother. My father was completely average in size. Bodies are funny.
For most of my teen years and early twenties, I simply wore men’s shoes. I’m a completely average size in men’s; I can always find a variety of styles. When it came to heels or anything remotely feminine, I had to settle for “close enough.”
I have a lot of nostalgia for ’90s fashion, because we all wore Dr. Martens and all our feet looked the same and it was great. (Your nostalgia may vary.)
My current pair of work shoes have just worn out. I bought them in 2012 and wore them nearly every day for about 10 months, so I’m not unhappy with how long they lasted. But Ahnu doesn’t make that style anymore, so back at it.
I’m so picky, too. The shoes need to: 1. be my size 2. be a reasonable price 3. look semi-decent 4. not be black. Yeahhhhhh.
At one shoe store, the helpful young male clerk said, “You know, a lot of women with larger feet buy men’s shoes!” How novel.
At another store, I did break down and try on men’s shoes because they didn’t look incredibly hideous. Until I put them on. I looked like I was playing dress-up in Frankenstein’s Monster’s closet. The women’s shoes wouldn’t fit over my toes.
So now I’ve done what all big-feet-havers do, ordered shoes online and hoped for the best. I’ve spent hours looking at Zappos, Amazon, and shoe company websites. I’ve cried over the thought that maybe now it’s time to just get the frickin’ Danskos, and then remembering that the one time I tried some on, they didn’t fit.
“It’s okay to get the ugly ‘nurse clogs,'” I told myself. “You work at a school that teaches medical programs. Lots of other people there wear clogs. These are almost cute!” But I just couldn’t do it.
I’ve ordered two pairs of Skechers and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.